Friday, September 30, 2011

Alone Time

Once a week we usually meet up with some other home-schoolers at a local playground so the kids can play together.

I know sometimes people are concerned that home-schooled kids may not get enough social interaction with other children. But the truth is that our kids tend to be just as busy as any kids, minus the morning rush to get out the door. Most of the home-schooling families I know seem to have the same problem of over-scheduling their kids with activities that other families have these day.

So when my six-year-old wants to spend her afternoon playgroup time making grass-people and playing on her own instead of with the other kids, I don't mind. I know how much I need my own alone time, and I am sure kids need theirs too!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ballerina Cookies

A few days ago, I came across this contest that involves making vegan Ballerina cookies, and taking pictures of them. Since I already had a half batch of hazelnut frosting left over from the cupcakes I made this weekend, I could not pass this one up.

Ballerina is one of the most popular cookies in Sweden, and the factory is just outside of my home town Göteborg. They have a chocolate cookie bottom and a vanilla cookie top, with a creamy hazelnut nougat filling in between. IKEA sells them here in the US.

The point of the contest is to show the makers that Ballerina could very easily be made vegan and try to get them to change the recipe. Either way, it was a fun little project.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for our little party yesterday. The recipe is the same one I always use, the Basic Chocolate Cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. For the frosting I made a vegan chocolate buttercream with about 1/2 cup of toasted and ground up hazelnuts. A little bit like Nutella, but fluffier!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Birthday Bowling

Someone is turning 3 tomorrow, and today we had a one-guest party with aunt Suzy visiting from New York City. The original plan was to go apple-picking, but the weather didn't look too promising so we went bowling instead. Great idea!

We did a lot of bowling over the summer, through the Kids Bowl Free program, which lets kids go bowling for free all summer long! Sarasvati just started bowling without bumpers, and Dave asked me to mention his new personal best of 177, including his first ever turkey (triple strike)!

And the birthday boy? He had a blast bowling, but spent most of the time sitting on a chair, looking through a toy magnifying glass.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Favorite Brownies

I just found a new favorite brownie recipe, and I am so excited about it! I already made these twice in the past couple of weeks. These brownies are fudgy and very rich, so a small piece will do the trick. The recipe comes from King Arthur, but I changed a few things to make a vegan version:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 of a block of silken tofu (about 4 oz)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and espresso powder in a small bowl. Blend the oil, sugar, tofu and vanilla extract in a large bowl until smooth (I use a stick blender). Add the flour mixture, and the chocolate chips, and mix until combined. Spread into a 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Corn Maze!

On Tuesday we headed out to visit Cherry Crest Farm in Lancaster. It is an "adventure farm" with a huge corn maze, a petting zoo, and lots of other activities. We have been there a couple of times before and it's always been great fun! This week they had home-school week (reduced admission!) with some extra activities, like a butter-making workshop for the kids. It rained in the morning, but since it was the only day that worked for us we packed up our rain coats and went anyway. Luckily, the weather eased up and it turned out to quite a nice day!

The maze is huge. It took us almost two hours to complete it, with just a little bit of help from the staff. Unfortunately, some of the corn had been damaged by hurricane Irene, but it wasn't too bad.

In the maze.
Goat kisses!
Rubber duck race!